Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Des Moines County, Iowa

DES MOINES – Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been positively identified in a residential tree in the city of Burlington in Des Moines County, making this the second location where the invasive beetle has been found in Iowa. It initially had been found on Henderson Island in the Mississippi River in Allamakee County in 2010.

EAB kills all ash species by larval burrowing under the bark and eating the actively growing layers of the trees. EAB is now considered to be one of the most destructive forest pests ever seen in North America.

State Entomologist Robin Pruisner said the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, along with USDA, will be issuing a quarantine for Des Moines County in the near future. A quarantine by state and U.S. agriculture departments means that hardwood firewood, ash logs and wood chips cannot be moved out of the area without a permit.

Pruisner said all Iowans are strongly cautioned not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states poses the greatest threat to quickly spread EAB even further. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly moving infested firewood, nursery plants, or sawmill logs. The adult beetle also can fly short distances, approximately 2 to 5 miles.

EAB is native to eastern Asia, and was detected in the United States near Detroit, Mich., in 2002. Since 2003, the Iowa EAB Team has been conducting annual surveys to determine whether and where this pest is in Iowa. The team includes officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the USDA Forest Service.

“Treatments against EAB are too late this year. If you are within 15 miles of Burlington, Iowa, and have a healthy ash tree, preventive treatments can be made mid-April to mid-May 2014,” said ISU Extension and Outreach Entomologist Mark Shour. For more details, see ISU Extension and Outreach publication PM 2084, www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM2084.pdf.

Ash is one of the most abundant native tree species in North America, and has been heavily planted as a landscape tree in yards and other urban areas. According to the USDA Forest Service, Iowa has an estimated 52 million rural ash trees and approximately 3.1 million more ash trees in urban areas. Burlington has about 700 ash trees in the public right-of-way and an estimated 2,000 residential trees.

To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa’s tree population, please visit IowaTreePests.com. Or, for more information contact any of the following members of the Iowa EAB Team: